Today is my 35th birthday. While most people enter their birthdays thankful to see another year, I was in the midst of a knock-down, drag out fight with God not even 24 hours ago! We actually fight a lot...and He always wins. But I rather enjoy that He always takes a moment from His busy schedule to entertain lil’ old me when I feel a hankering to whine and complain.
But this fight was a bit different. This time, I was extremely upset with Him. And I made sure He knew it!
Our fight began early Wednesday morning. I’d awoken from an already restless sleep frustrated beyond belief. I had a headache. I felt heavy – in body and in spirit. I was agitated. I was severely upset…but I didn’t immediately comprehend why. Scratch that…I didn’t immediately want to admit why. But then I couldn’t hold it in anymore, and so I screamed.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I was shouting, audibly, at God.
But who could blame me? There I was, hours away from being officially in my mid-thirties and I was overcome by the very real fact that I was STILL single! Not only single, but single with no boo thang, no man friend, and no serious prospects in sight. And so I had become the cliché that I have always abhorred. For about 12 hours yesterday, I was that depressed single chick who is so focused on her marital status (or lack thereof) that I couldn’t revel in my typical gleeful state of enjoying the freedom to do what I please, when I please.
I kept trying to snap myself out of it. But I guess my inner Charlotte York was kicking my inner Carrie Bradshaw’s narrow behind. (Charlotte is very strong when she's angry.) I wanted to be married by now and I wasn’t. I'd always thought I'd be married by now and I wasn't! So, I wanted to sulk. I wanted to complain.
And so I did.
“Why, God?!,” I asked Him. A line of more questions followed...
“Why are you making me wait so long?!!!!”
“Do you hate me?”
“Am I cursed?”
“What am I doing wrong?!!!”
“How is this fair?!!! Why have you given folks who already have families even bigger families when I barely have one?!”
And that’s where I stopped asking questions. That’s when I realized it was time to be quiet.
From that, it became clear that the root of my problem isn’t truly about wanting to be married. It was now ever so apparent that I, somewhere down the line, began looking to marriage as a means to give me something I didn’t believe I ever had: A “real” family.
I have tons of family members. I'm even Facebook friends with lots of them. But, truth is, we’re mostly estranged. For the majority of my existence, my family has truly been my immediate family, which is pretty small. My aunt passed away over 20 years ago. My two uncles are just…gone. I never knew my maternal or paternal grandfathers, and both of my grandmothers are deceased. This has virtually left my family unit at my mother and my siblings. That's it.
I wallowed in that.
I actually allowed myself to go so far as to have a pity party about how my tiny family doesn’t have family reunions or how I don’t have the luxury of going from house-to-house for major holidays, or the fact that I’ve had to pull teeth just to get ONE family member to visit me in DC since moving here more than six years ago, while my friends here seem to have family coming into town every weekend! I dwelled on all this and became even more depressed. I’d eventually gotten more upset than I was when I thought this was merely about wanting to be married.
Then I received a text from my mother.
She was in the hospital and, unbeknownst to me, she had been for days.
My mother was just hospitalized last month, so it shook me to my core to learn that she was in there yet again.
I immediately left my pity party and focused solely on her. My mother is notorious for keeping things like this from me. She says it’s because she knows how I worry.
She knows me well.
I was quickly overcome with worry for her and I worried about what I could do to help her. Then worry was followed by guilt – guilt that I wasn’t there with her and guilt that I hadn’t called her days. Finally, shame entered the picture. I was ashamed that only moments earlier I was whining about not having enough family when my mommy was lying sick in some cold hospital!
As I brooded over all this, I received another text from my mom. She was happily reporting that she was getting her voice back, that her meds were working, and that she’d gotten the okay to be released in a couple of days.
“Praise God!!!!,” I thought.
“Oh God!!!," framed a revelation that later followed.
I realized that in the midst of my being such a freaking BRAT, God, in His infinite and gentle awesomeness, was showing me how I’d spent 12 hours of my day worried about the wrong thing and how ungrateful I had become.
What about my mommy? What about the family I do have? Aren’t they enough?
While I do desire to be married some day, I guess it's safe to say that desire isn't exactly for all of the right reasons.
But of one thing I am sure: God’s grace is sufficient. I trust He'll send me exactly what I need and whom I need when the time (and my mind, my heart and my motives) is right.
In the meantime, this little fight with Him was an excellent reminder for me to appreciate what I already have. I not only need to be more appreciative of my tiny family, I need to stop incessantly comparing them to those of my friends, co-workers or random strangers on Instagram and Facebook!
This entire ordeal is also a bit humorous to me. It's extremely humbling to realize that no matter how mature I believed I’d become in my faith, I am still susceptible to human frailties that, if I'm not careful, can be used to steal my peace and my joy.
Moreover, a final reminder I’ve received from this is that God can handle whatever I throw at Him. While being angry at God isn’t wise, there is wisdom in being honest and taking our frustrations with Him directly to Him to work them out. There is foolishness and danger in being angry at God and deciding to never speak to Him anymore. If I'd stopped the conversation at being upset for STILL being single, I might not have discovered the root of my problem. I might have gone off trying to handle things in my own strength - perhaps linking up with some random guy just to finally be part of a large family, which I'd always equated to love and belonging - as if my little family doesn't already provide those things! I might have continued to desire marriage for the WRONG reason! JESUS!
So, now that yesterday’s fight with God has helped me work through my melodrama, I am finally ready to enter my birthday on a celebratory note! I am ever so grateful, like I've been for many others, that He's allowed me to see yet another year! I've got my health, my sanity (back), AND my tiny family (including a healing mommy). For me those are the best gifts I could ever receive.
Update July 23, 2018: So I just revisited this piece to share today on social media, but I honestly just CRINGED reading this. lol! Yet, I'll allow it to remain published as it is an excellent example of growing from faith to faith. I used to spend much time lamenting over having a small biological family, but the Lord was gracious in meeting me where I was at the time, and He used my mother's hospitalization to help me learn to be grateful for the little family I did have. Yet, over the past three years, I've been blessed with an even greater lesson, which is seeing how the Lord is faithful to satisfy us in Christ such that through Him, He fills the voids we may have in the world. Everything I thought I didn't have in my biological family, I actually have through my family in Christ. My new church family and every other Believer in Christ I've met as I follow Christ have certainly given me everything I thought I wasn't getting from my biological relatives.
There are no true losses in Christ and there is no actual lack. Make no mistake: I'm not propagating a "prosperity Gospel" here. What I'm saying is we tend chase things in this world as a means to attain what Christ automatically provides. I may never marry, have a large biological family, be financially wealthy or anything of the sort in this life. But the peace, joy, support, identity and fulfillment I have in Christ are what I used to believe I needed a large family, marriage, money, etc to enjoy.
"Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:8).
Also, I don't "fight" with God these days. I still take my concerns to Him and am honest about my feelings, but I go in much less combative, I'm more thankful and I always pray that His will be done. I actually trust Him now, and I know that whatever I may not understand in the moment, He is faithful to help me understand in time. ~ Veritéetfeu